Harvest app tops invention list

Recognition: App inventor Michael Fels is congratulated by Grain Research and Development Corporation chairman Keith Perrett.
Recognition: App inventor Michael Fels is congratulated by Grain Research and Development Corporation chairman Keith Perrett.

AN innovative smartphone application which forecasts harvest yields is the winner of the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Australian Year of the Farmer Grain Inventors nationwide search for the next big breakthrough in farming technology.Esperance local Michael Fels invented the iPaddock Yield app and will receive $15,000-worth of support from the corporation to develop his concept.The app will be designed to give growers a reliable forecast of yield and will take less than an hour for each user to set up, with no need for field inspections or tests.Mr Fels said having a reliable forecast of yield early in the season was the Holy Grail for grain farmers."We're really excited that we will be able to take the next step to achieving this by further developing iPaddock Yield," he said."So far I've built the system on a PC, but we now intend to make it into an app for iPhones and iPads to make it easily accessible for growers."Mr Fels said his primary motivation for developing the app was not to generate profits, but to make available to the wider industry a tool that could improve the viability of Australian farm businesses, making a profound difference to the way their major input decisions are made.The iPaddock Yield concept has been tested on farms in low, medium and high-rainfall zones, and has consistently made yield forecasts, as early as June, that have matched up with harvest results.The corporation, in partnership with the Australian Year of the Farmer, began searching for Australia's most innovative home-grown invention for the grains sector in 2012 through the Grain Inventors competition.